The world this week
In a speech to a joint session of Congress, Joe Biden laid out his American Families Plan, the most ambitious attempt to expand social programmes since the 1960s. The plan includes universal child care for three- and four-year-olds, a family-leave initiative and tuition-free community college. The $1.8trn price tag will be paid in part by increasing the top rate of income tax to 39.6%. And for those earning over $1m, taxes on capital gains and dividends will soar.
The family of Lee Kun-hee, Samsung’s late chairman, are to pay almost $11bn in taxes on his estate, one of the world’s biggest-ever inheritance-tax bills. His art collection, which includes works by Salvador Dali, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, will be donated to the National Museum of Korea and other institutions.
三星已故董事长李健熙的家族将为其遗产支付近110亿美元的税款，这是全球有史以来最大的遗产税案之一。他的艺术收藏品包括萨尔瓦多·达利（SalvadorDali），莫奈（Claude Monet）和毕加索（Pablo Picasso）的作品，将捐赠给韩国国家博物馆和其他机构。
The Ethiopian government’s auction of two licences to operate telecoms was deemed a failure, when only two bidders submitted offers. The sale of the licences was supposed to be the jewel in the privatisation drive under Abiy Ahmed, the reform-minded prime minister. Potential buyers were put off by some of the restrictions, such as excluding foreign telecoms from providing mobile-money services.
Total, a French oil and gas company, suspended work indefinitely on a $20bn liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique, Africa’s largest energy investment, because of attacks by jihadists. Total evacuated its staff from the town of Palma in March.
Apple had a bumper first quarter. Revenues soared to $89.6bn, as did net profit, to $23.6bn. That is more than Amazon’s profit for all of last year. The tech company recorded big increases in sales of iPhones, iPads and other devices, confounding the market narrative that it is increasingly reliant on services (apps, TV and the like) for growth.
Huawei’s revenues fell by 16.5% in the first quarter, year on year, the second consecutive quarter in which it has registered a hefty drop. The Chinese maker of telecoms equipment was banned from having access to some American technology under the Trump administration, which is putting its business under immense pressure.